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Honey and Orange Madeleines

March 3, 2014

When we made the move to Florence I had to part ways with my beloved KitchenAid Mixer, Lucy. I couldn’t risk the temptation of using her and burning out the whole unit because of the different electrical voltages. But do not fear, Lucy is in safe hands and in storage with Tony’s family… But it doesn’t mean I don’t miss her tremendously… and my KitchenAid Ice Cream Attachment and dough hook, as well.


Every morning I walk outside of my apartment and I am greeted by the overwhelming and sweet aroma of a local pasticceria serving freshly baked pastries and bread. I force myself to walk away quickly for fear that I will soon be living on a dessert-only diet and because all I can think about is how much I want to bake these sweet confections of my own, which I am slightly limited by now without my stand mixer. A European KitchenAid Mixer is about 630€, which is about $865.00, so until I invest in a mixer, if and when that ever happens, I am left to mixing, whisking, and kneading with a spoon, whisk, and my muscles!


Since many of my staple recipes involve using a stand mixer and standard American baking ingredients, I had to improvise a little. Also, on a side note, I am happy that I can say with confidence that I have found a wonderful grocery store to do all my grocery shopping at! However, getting used to all the different baking ingredients is a whole other story… For instance, brown sugar? Nada. Vanilla extract. Nope. Molasses. Nothing. Peanut Butter. Rare. Baking powder has a substitute called “lievito in polvere” or “lievito per dolci,” and typically has a vanilla essence added to it. Chocolate chips are non-existent, which just means I have to chop up a chocolate bar.


I decided to make madeleines again, but with a twist of wildflower honey and orange zest. I feel like the orange zest makes these bite-sized sponge cakes the perfect “it’s almost spring” treat! They’re simple, light, delicious, and can easily be prepared without any electrical appliances. Win-win.

Honey and Orange Madeleines recipe by The Bite-Sized Baker:

½ cup unsalted butter

Zest of one orange

½ cup all-purpose flour, sifted, plus more for dusting

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla flavored baking powder

3 eggs

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 ½ teaspoon wildflower honey

  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and mix in orange zest. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine sifted flour with baking powder and salt and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, granulated sugar, and honey. Using a wire whisk or a handled mixer on medium-high speed, beat vigorously until pale, thick, and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Sprinkle the sifted flour over the egg mixture and stir or beat on low speed until incorporated.
  4. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in half of the melted butter until just blended, then fold in the remaining butter. Seal the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and remove batter from refrigerator and divide the batter evenly among the prepared molds, using a heaping 1 Tablespoon batter for each mold. Bake the madeleines until the tops spring back when lightly touched, 8 to 12 minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and invert it over a wire rack, then rap the pan on the rack to release the madeleines. If any should stick, use your fingers to loosen the edges, being careful not to touch the hot pan, and invert and rap again.
  7. Let the madeleines cool on the rack for 10 minutes. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar and serve.
One Comment leave one →
  1. March 5, 2014 1:47 pm

    I feel your expat baking pain! I found myself in the same situation when I moved to Spain a few years ago – little by little I found my way around the supermarket and my new kitchen, and it ended up being a great experience. Living in France now (trying find a reasonable balance between the patisseries and my kitchen…) it’s definitely time to try my hand at Madelines. Thanks for the recipe!

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